This month I am venturing into the unknown and mysterious world of vegan baking. This is not especially easy, as a lifetime of Southern-American kitchen exposure tells me that baked goods MUST have fats. Butter! Eggs! White sugar! And preferably chocolate of some kind.
There isn't much wrong with these ingredients except that some of them are from animals, they are fattening and full of cholesterol. Cookies and scones (and surely any other type of baked item) will turn out just as delicious without them.
I can't say it's the easiest thing in the world transitioning from fattening cookies to not-quite-so-fattening cookies, since egg replacers and vegetable oil behave rather differently than room-temperature butter and a couple whisked eggs. But it's worth stepping out of my comfort zone. And no one at my office who tried one of the choc-oat-chip cookies I baked could guess there were no eggs, butter or cow milk to be found in the tasty morsels. Try it! The animals (and your heart) will thank you.
My first vegan recipe ...
So-Close-To-Vegan Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies:
I tried really hard but these are not 100% vegan since there is dairy in the semi-sweet chocolate chips; I don't have any vegan chocolate chips around (carob and the like) so I used what I had. It was a good way to test the recipe at least, and I found that the cookies baked up wonderfully. They don't brown quite like they would if you had traditional dairy ingredients, but the prep and baking times are the same ... oh, except for that hour I saved NOT waiting for butter to soften.
This is the recipe I tried and I was very pleased. Instead of refined/white sugar, I used some brown and turbinado sugars; I didn't have any on hand but I would like to use sucanat or something else even less refined next time ... I am still working on transitioning my kitchen to a healthier place - I definitely have some shopping to do.
Here are a few photos from my baking experience:
Sugars and oil mixed together. This time, some vegetable oil replaces the typical 2 sticks of butter.
Here is what I used to replace the dairy eggs and milk (you can find out more about each of these items here and here):
Finely milled oats from The Peach Basket in Fredericksburg, TX - Kevin thought they would be nice for baking. =)
Ready for the oven ...
I had to take a peak 1/2 way through ... yep, they still look like cookies. ;)
All done and cooled, ready to be stored (eaten!)